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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Overview Chapter Books and Early Readers: Part One: Publisher Requirements

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

“I don’t bother with reading levels when I’m writing. I just try to write a good, entertaining story.” Doug Cushman

Easy Readers, Early Readers, Beginning Readers, I Can Read, and Chapter Books are categories often used to describe books for grades kindergarten to fourth grade. Or sometimes they are under the description emergent, early, transitional, and fluent.

These same level categories overlap the same age categories so it sometimes becomes quite confusing. To add to the confusion some publishers group the reading ability into three levels and some into five. Often the levels are geared to correspond to grades, but they too will overlap.

One common ground, says Tracey E. Dils, is that “Their vocabulary and readability are controlled so that they offer the appropriate challenge for children who are learning to read.” Like the quote above she recommends story first and then see where the literacy levels land.

Some overview characteristics include:

Easy Readers: ages 7-9, 1,000-1,500 words.
Pre-school-1st grade: repetition and simple concepts.
            2nd –3rd grades: develop plots, more complex sentences

Chapter Books: ages 7-10, 40-80 pages, 1,500-10,000 words, usually 8-10 short chapters.

They begin with simple concepts, simple plots, simple words, and consistently expand more in complication as readers become more and more fluent.

Action Steps:

1.     Choose an educational publisher for libraries and schools and take a look at their category levels and subjects.

2.     Pick a subject that interests you and trace the levels for that one concept or plot.

3.     Choose the level that interests you the most and using their guidelines write a few pages on a similar topic that you are already familiar with.

Some Sample Publishers

            ABDO, Scholastic, Lerner Publishing Group, Albert Whitman & Company, Zonderkids, DK Publishing, Penguin Young Readers, Capstone, Lee & Low Books, Boyds Mill Press.

            Share: Did you find it easy or difficult? Boring or challenging?

Read deep, marcy

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